There are people in our lives who share similar spiritual values. Among these values, for me, is the importance of prayer for one another. I have many friends who are truly fine individuals and scholars. They share very little about their lives. This is common in an academic environment in which the personal and religious are not engaged in daily discussion by any requirement. Hence, I have few friends who share their spiritual journeys and ask for prayer. Somehow the Holy Spirit introduces us.
It’s a precious request: pray for me. Imagine all that affects, shapes your space: family, friends, work, colleagues, emergencies, daily activities, thoughts, concerns, praise. So many cares and joys to place forward in prayer. What are we asking of others when we request their prayer? What are others asking for when they pray for us?
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It was my last-minute e-mail check before leaving for work. There it was: “May God continue to bless your ministry and the ministry of your colleagues at Adventist Review. I pray for you . . .” The sender included this citation: “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Holy Spirit gives” (Col. 1:9). I don’t recognize the name of the sender, but humility overcomes me as I realize someone has placed my name in the presence of God, praying for my service to Him.
What are we asking of others when we request their prayers? What are others asking for when they pray for us?
The e-mail note remains a companion during lectures at the university. A colleague stops by my office to “check in” before a meeting, and we talk for a few minutes. As she prepares to leave, she whispers, “Pray for me. Life is getting complicated.”
A few hours later my friend returns from her meeting, stops by my office, quietly sits, and shares: “I was thinking. God knows what I need, but if you could pray for strength, wisdom, patience,
and . . .” her voice trails off.
Experience has taught me that these are important requests, pleadings for extended guidance and grace. This request is more specific in its intent. I invite her to join me in prayer that very moment. We spend time talking, and eventually the focus falls on prayers we offer for others. I mention prayers that appear to be the topic of the day, briefly sharing the morning e-mail experience. She smiles.
“I have neglected to reflect on prayers sent for me, given by me,” she says. “Only recently have I realized how much I need them. It’s comforting to know that someone prays to ensure that your daily journey includes traveling close to still waters.”
Still waters. Peace. Care. No needs. Comfort for the soul.
On my drive home I think on this: I do not have great wars to fight; no country calls for me. I lose sleep to personal battles, the struggles of being a child of God running through challenging terrain with trees so high the light of heaven can barely be seen. When darkness encroaches on my life, when the body remembers to push forward in faith, I am not alone.
The Holy Spirit never stops moving among us. Part of searching the guidance provided is to continually be willing to lift one another in prayer.
Pray for me.
Dixil Rodríguez writes from Ohio.